Sri Lankan Culture Troupe stuns Kuwait
By Embassy of Sri Lanka, Kuwait
May 5, 2010
The first ever "Sri Lanka Culture Week" in Kuwait was held from 26th April - 02nd May 2010 jointly hosted by the Embassy of Sri Lanka and the National Council for Culture, Arts & Letters. The Culture Week was officially inaugurated on 26th April 2010 at the Keifan Auditorium by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, Minister of Information & Oil, accompanied by the Secretary General of the Council Sheikh Bader Al-Rifai, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait Sarath Dissanayake, Manager Sri Lankan Airlines Mr. Lalith Peiris and Mr. Chandana Wickramasinghe, Director of the Chandana Wickramasinghe & the Dancers' Guild who all took-part in lighting ceremonial oil lamp to the tune of "Mangul Bera". The two National Anthems were played afterwards. There was an exchange of tokens among the guests.

Secretary General of the National Council Sheikh Al -Rifai delivered the welcome speech in which he said that Kuwait is profoundly motivated by its deeply rooted Arab and Islamic traditions and is always embracing all cultures, admires and respects them. "We in Kuwait are privileged to see many cultures represented by its nationals who resided in Kuwait over many decades, giving our society such a 'colorful' diversity of culture", he added. He carried on to say "it's true that modern Kuwaiti-Sri Lankan relations only date back to 1971, but it is equally true that our mutual cooperation and friendly relations are deep-rooted in history". "Kuwaiti ships used to have its major ports in old Ceylon; historically known in Arabic as the Island of Sarandeeb, where beside goods traded, culture was exchanged as well". In his speech, Ambassador Dissanayake appreciated the invaluable support and commitment of the Minister of Information & Oil, Secretary General of the National Council and his dedicated staff, toward the success of the celebrations. In particular he was grateful to the people of Kuwait for their abiding interest and enthusiasm in Sri Lankan culture, heritage, music etc. which serve as a bridge and a means of communication that help bring countries and peoples closer to each other. He welcomed all those present to the Sri Lankan Culture Week and appreciated their contribution for the promotion of a greater understanding and cooperation between the two countries and their peoples.

It is of particular significance that H.E. the Minister of Information & Oil who was the Chief Guest for the inauguration watched the entire performance for almost 3 hours together with over 35 Ambassadors and their spouses.

The "Sri Lak Rangana" Cultural extravaganza was put-on stage by a 28-member cultural troupe featuring a combination of traditional dances, fusion acts, contemporary and modern forms of performances while an orchestra entertained the audience with live music, modern & classical songs.

During the culture week celebrations an exhibition of handicrafts, textiles & garments, masks, decorative items, ornaments etc. was held parallel to the main cultural performances. The stalls attracted large crowds who have admired Sri Lanka's beauty, diversity and richness.

A Sri Lankan food festival was inaugurated on 28th April at the Crowne Plaza Hotel which lured many Kuwaitis and expats to taste Sri Lanka's unique cuisine and dishes which were specially prepared by Sri Lankan chefs from Crowne Plaza hotel. The Chief Guest of the occasion was Ambassador Mohammad Al-Roumi, Director of Asia Department in the Foreign Ministry and the invitees present at the dinner included a group of Asian Ambassadors, media, well-wishers etc. accompanied by their spouses. The Sri Lankan community too had the opportunity to experience their own culture, heritage, dancing and music performed by the dancers and the orchestra which truly won the hearts and minds of the members in the audience.

The finale of the culture week on 02nd May has been a wonderful experience for the ladies of the International Women's Group (IWG) who converged on the SAS hotel for a presentation by the renowned designer Ms. Sonali Dharmawardene on the title "Batik, Lifestyles & Role of Sri Lankan Women". The lecture cum presentation was a stunning display of her talents in the art of Batik and fashion industry of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Dharmawardana also made a presentation at the Kuwait Textile Art Association on her work to a group of high profile ladies which were well appreciated and received.

Prior to their departure to Sri Lanka Mr. Chandana Wickramasinghe, Director of the Dancers Guild accompanied by Mrs. Sonali Dharmawardana, Designer addressed the media at a press conference held on 02nd May at the Embassy premises which was well attended by members of both print and electronic media.

The local media covered the week-long events extensively together with a Sri TV crew, the Media Sponsor of the Sri Lanka Culture Week who has been specially flown in to Kuwait for the occasion. The Sri Lankan tourism, SriLankan Airlines, Sri TV together with a host of well-wishers patronized the Sri Lankan Culture Week with their valued sponsorships.

It has been a week of hyper activity for the Sri Lankan Embassy and the National Council for Culture, Arts & Letters which put together week long celebrations on Sri Lankan culture that mesmerized the crowds who gathered for the event. The Embassy and the Council hoped that the events had been a life time opportunity for the Kuwaitis and their foreign counterparts to learn and experience the rich and proud Sri Lankan culture, history and the lifestyles of Sri Lankan people which would go a long-way in further cementing the excellent friendship and goodwill that exit between the two countries and its people.